June 13, 2024

Health Supplements

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Can Vitamin D and Magnesium Really Help Treat Anxiety?

4 min read

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People are sharing stories on social media platforms like TikTok that using vitamin D and magnesium supplements has helped treat their anxiety symptoms. andreswd/Getty Images
  • TikTok users are claiming in viral videos that magnesium and vitamin D can cure anxiety.
  • Nutritional experts say there is good science backing these claims.
  • However, supplementation may not be a “magic bullet” for all people.
  • Mental health conditions often arise from a combination of factors.
  • It is best to treat them from a variety of angles, including good nutrition.

TikTok users claim that supplementing with magnesium and vitamin D can help alleviate anxiety.

While it pays to be cautious when following TikTok trends, a recent viral video from user @tylerjohnwesley that’s currently sitting at 16.3 million views may just be on to something.

His followers are raving about what he calls “500 milli vanilli grams of peace.”

Tyler says the hack — which calls for daily supplementation with 500 milligrams of magnesium glycinate and 125 micrograms (5,000 IU) of vitamin D3 — helped him with lifelong anxiety.

“I don’t have anxiety anymore,” Tyler proclaimed. “Thirty years, anxiety my whole life. I don’t have it anymore. Try it.”

User Jesseca Weeks commented, “This is the first thing to actually help me,” while jaymiekraft responded, “Dude I started the exact same thing a few months ago. IT WORKS!!!!”

Yet others were chiming in to ask about timing and dosage, saying that they too wanted to try it.

Clearly, people who have tried the combo believe they are getting good results, but what does the science say? Can magnesium and vitamin D really be used to treat anxiety?

While the medical advice to be found on TikTok is often sketchy, Dr. Uma Naidoo, director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and author of “Calm Your Mind With Food,” told Healthline there is “clear support for the role of vitamin D and magnesium in helping symptoms of depression and anxiety.”

She explained that vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in:

  • calcium absorption
  • bone growth
  • mineralization
  • remodeling of bone

“In the brain,” said Naidoo, “vitamin D acts as a neuro-steroid and plays a role in protecting against depression and anxiety disorders, and there is a well-established link between vitamin D deficiency and symptoms of depression, as well as worsened anxiety, as the deficiency or excess of vitamin D plays a crucial role in regulating stress responses … .”

Nadoo further explained that magnesium is a mineral that regulates at least 300 different biochemical reactions in the body, such as protein synthesis and muscle and nerve function.

“This mineral helps to regulate many key neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation,” said Naidoo.

Magnesium deficiency is also associated with anxiety, ADHD, fatigue, and low libido,” she said, “in fact, symptoms of having low stores of this key mineral include tension, irritability, and symptoms of anxiety.”

She additionally noted that magnesium deficiency has been associated with both depression and reduced levels of dopamine while supplementation has been shown to increase these levels.

“Adding more to one’s diet is also shown to improve quality of sleep, hydration and muscle growth and recovery,” Naidoo added, “and sleep, nutrition, and physical activity are all closely tied to our mental health, especially symptoms of anxiety and depression.”

Before you rush out to buy magnesium and vitamin D supplements, however, it’s important to note that supplementation alone may not be a magic fix for your depression or anxiety.

Dr. Kara Kushnir, MSW, LCSW, founder and clinical director of A Work of Heart Counseling, said, “They aren’t magic because nothing is in mental health — it is usually a combination of factors, and we know that a variety of changes and resources are often the best recipe for improving mental health.

“We know that therapy, medication, social support, and outlets/emotional releases like exercise, hydration, nutrition, and stress reduction techniques are often the most impactful ways to improve mental health and well-being,” she added.

Having said that, however, Kushnir advised that supplementation — when done appropriately and under the guidance of a physician — can potentially help reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.

According to GoodRx Health, the exact amount that you need to supplement will vary depending on your current levels. A healthcare provider can do testing to determine what is right for you.

However, many people do have a deficiency in these two nutrients, Kushnir noted.

She also stressed that it’s important that people recognize that these aren’t necessarily “magic bullets” for mental health conditions.

Although supplementation can work, Naidoo said that eating wholesome and nutrient-rich foods is the best way to fuel a healthy brain and body.

“We should still strive to eat a healthy whole foods diet by including an array of colorful fiber-rich plant foods and healthy fats so that our bodies get the well-rounded nutrition they need,” she stated.

“[T]he gut-brain connection is optimized by fiber, which nourishes the gut and its microbiome; plant foods offer powerful antioxidant phytonutrients and tamp down inflammation in the brain; healthy fats offer strong building blocks and fend off aging stressors on the brain.

“In combination,” she concluded, “all the macro- and micronutrients in our diet come together to support our most optimal mental health.”

A viral TikTok video claiming that magnesium and vitamin D helped a man’s anxiety has solid scientific support, according to nutrition experts.

However, it may not be a magic bullet for all people. Anxiety is a multifactorial condition, they say.

It is best to approach the treatment of anxiety with a combination of approaches including such things as therapy, medication, and social support. Additionally, it is preferable to eat a well-rounded diet rather than take individual supplements.

If you do opt to take supplements, your doctor can do testing to determine what is right for you.


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